A fan of her work, I got the chance to ask her a few questions about motherhood and creativity, that I thought I’d share with you here:
1) What inspired you to become and artist, illustrator and author?
Liz Climo: I’ve always loved to draw, ever since I was little. I have a lot of artists and writers in my family – my mom was an artist, and my grandmother on my dad’s side wrote children’s books. I loved creating my own books out of notebooks I found around the house, or just blank pieces of paper. My first job was as an animator, so I focused on that media for a bit, but eventually found my way back to writing and illustrating.
2) What inspired you to create “You’re Mom”?
Liz Climo: The book was inspired my my relationship with my mom and my daughter. My mom passed away when I was in my early 20s and just starting my adult life. I was always extremely close with my mom, but after having my own daughter in my mid thirties, I felt like I started to understand and connect with her in a whole new way. This book is about the love between a parent and child, which includes the inevitable loss we all eventually experience and the love that remains.
3) What has motherhood taught you?
Liz Climo: Motherhood has taught me many things, but the most profound has been that I now truly understand how much my own mother loved me. It has been both incredible and heartbreaking to understand that feeling.
4) What was it like when you first got the opportunity to work as a character artist on the Simpsons?
Liz Climo: Terrifying! I didn’t finish college, and hadn’t even taken a single animation class. Learning how to draw and learning how to animate are two very different things – it’s sort of like knowing how to paint a car, but not really knowing how to fix a car, then suddenly getting hired as a mechanic. It was my dream job, so I buckled down and worked incredibly hard and managed to stick around for fourteen years. It was a really amazing and exciting time, and I feel very fortunate I was able to work there as long as I did.
5) What are some techniques/strategies you’d suggest parents use to help foster creativity at home with their kids?
Liz Climo: There are a lot of tools out there meant to foster creativity, and that’s great! But, creativity comes from within. It’s really hard, I know – as adults, we tend to want structure, and we also get tired. Most of the time, If I have a free moment I just want to turn my brain off and stare at my phone. When I’m actually able to live in the moment, though, that’s when I have the most fun with my daughter. Be silly. Play hide and seek. Pretend you’re a dinosaur. For the record, my husband is actually much better at this than I am! But I’m trying, and when I actually let myself follow her lead, I remember how it feels to be a kid and just exist with her in those moments. Those moments are the best.
If you’re interested in purchasing Liz Climo’s book for a wonderful a mama in your life, “You’re Mom: A little book for mothers (and the people who love them)” is available for purchase online at Indie Bound